Jo’s Journal: How to Be a Christian in a Social Media World
by Joanne Troppello
According to Global Web Index research as reported in Oberlo, the average person spends approximately 3 hours each day on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram. Are you the average person?
I spend time on social media, usually on Twitter so I can promote my magazine and engage with people and try to draw more traffic to Mustard Seed Sentinel. It is very easy to get sucked into the blackhole of the newsfeed on whatever social media platform you spend the most time on. You might be scrolling through Facebook and Twitter and lose yourself in a huge waste of time.
The focus in this article will be on Facebook and Twitter since those are the two social media platforms where I spend my time. However, the tips discussed here can be applied to all the major social media platforms.
1. Prioritize and Discipline
I don’t like wasting time. However, when you go on various social media platforms, it can be extremely easy to waste time. You think you’re only going on to check notifications and then you end up scrolling the feed, and quickly lose track of time. I realized that was happening to me, so I set boundaries and use time blocking to make sure I don’t waste time on social media.
I only share the daily Mustard Seed Sentinel post 1-3 times a day on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I post an inspirational saying on Facebook once or twice daily and tweet 10-12 times per day. I took the notifications off my mobile devices for social media accounts, so I don’t get distracted throughout the day and only look at notifications a few times daily.
Consider using an app like AppDetox to help you limit the time you spend on social media or other apps that enabling you to waste time each day.
2. Avoid Becoming Jealous
It is so easy to allow jealousy to overtake your life when you spend time on social media platforms. You scroll through the feed on Facebook and see how perfect everyone’s life is without realizing that is usually not a genuine reflection of their life.
Most people don’t broadcast online all the hardships they are going through. They usually post the happy times. If your life is not going so well, spending too much time on social media will not make things better for you. It can only serve to make you jealous and ungrateful for what God is doing in your life.
I Corinthians 3:3 tells us, “…for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” (NKJV)
As a Christian, God expects us to be in this world, but not be of it. With the power of the Holy Spirit working in us each day, we can imitate Christ. However, when we act in the flesh, we’re not imitating Christ.
Believe me, I have been jealous many times in my life, and it’s caused problems. Although, as I’ve grown in the Lord, He’s shown me that I can do all things through Christ and overcome those tendencies.
That is one of the reasons why I need to limit my time on social media. I don’t want to fall back into jealousy over what is happening in other people’s lives and not happening in my own.
I need to focus on what God wants to do in my life and bloom where I am planted. I cannot do that if I am constantly on social media. Setting limits have helped immensely.
3. Choose Words Wisely
As an author, writer, and magazine publisher, I have a brand to protect on social media. As a Christian, I need to imitate Christ in all my interactions—both online and in person with people I interact with each day.
I’ve been a Christian for 32 years. I got saved at a young age and grew up in a Christian family. I am not perfect. No one is. However, the way I acted in my twenties as a hot head, is not how I act today in my forties. I have grown in my relationship in the Lord.
We need to choose our words wisely when we interact on social media as Christians. It still amazes me how some people I’ve encountered on Twitter—who profess to be a Christian—freely use profanity when tweeting. I am not judging them. I’m just trying to understand them.
Sure, I slip up and swear in my anger. However, I try very hard not to swear. Yet, that is usually at home and in front of my husband, hardly ever out in public. Of course, I can chalk that up to how I’ve grown in my walk with the Lord. Still, it doesn’t show a good witness whether it happens in person or online—even if you are using asterisks (***) to “bleep” out words in your tweets and posts.
I don’t think Christians should use profanity or bleeped out profanity on social media. Some people may think that’s harsh, but that’s how I feel.
4. Think Before Posting
If you’ve read any of my columns here at Mustard Seed Sentinel, you’ve likely seen that I am a huge advocate of responding and not reacting in all our relationships—whether online or in person.
My perspective on this issue stems from my immature emotional IQ as a younger person. I grew up in a broken home of divorce and learned some negative behavior. I was a very reactionary person when situations were out of my control and I would quickly raise my voice and become anxious or argumentative.
I got engaged when I was 29 and married when I was 30. Throughout that engagement year, I learned a lot about myself and how immature I was and negative learned behaviors that were a part of me.
My friend shared a book with me about how to improve your emotional IQ. That book—along with the timing of the Lord’s refining fire—changed my life. I learned how to control my anger through the power of the Holy Spirit. God showed me how I allowed myself to be controlled by my experiences and react in negative ways.
After we got engaged, my husband bought me the DNA of Relationships by Gary Smalley and that played an important part in my emotional recovery and growth. I learned how to better interact with people since we all have different personalities and react and respond different ways. I can now understand why people react certain ways and to look beyond their words and actions to see what is behind them and why they’re reacting or responding the way they are.
I’m sharing this information here since I’ve transferred this knowledge to how I interact with people on social media. I have seen that you cannot reason with unreasonable people.
There are liberal trolls on Twitter that want to instigate arguments online with conservatives, so they react negatively, and then these trolls can report them—so their accounts get suspended. I have connected with 100's of conservatives on Twitter that this has happened to.
Consider some of the following tips I’ve used when interacting on social media:
Remember that God is always in control amidst the chaos.
Know that facts are important, and you should research everything.
Seek peace whenever possible and don’t make enemies online.
Learn to choose your battles and ignore negative comments.
Understand that people are not perfect, and neither are you.
Don’t choose bitterness when dealing with people online.
Always respond, and never react; think before posting.
Do not be afraid to block ignorant individuals on Twitter.
Always pray and trust that God will guide you in all interactions.
Are you a Christian who is active on any of the social media platforms mentioned in this article? How have you behaved to ensure that you cultivate a positive Christian witness on social media?
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is a published author of 3 inspirational fiction novels and the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Mustard Seed Sentinel. She has experience as a freelance writer in topics such as marketing, retail marketing, health and wellness, SEO and social media, travel and lifestyle, website content, recommendations for apps, and content for blogs. Visit her Amazon Author Page for more information regarding her books. Connect on Twitter. Read more about Mustard Seed Sentinel here.